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Michael Clarebrough – Australian Securities Team Member Profile

When you sit down with Michael Clarebrough, you’re immediately struck by his breadth of experience and his pivotal role in shaping Australian Securities into what it is today. With a career spanning over five decades at the firm, Michael’s journey mirrors the evolution of the financial industry itself—from the days of manual mortgage documentation and ‘plug and talk’ phone systems to leading technological and procedural advancements in the sector. His knack for devising pragmatic solutions to complex challenges has propelled Australian Securities forward and contributed significantly to wider industry practices.

Michael’s story is of constant learning, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to fostering a supportive, people-centric culture within Australian Securities. His contributions have been instrumental in developing solutions that help clients overcome their financial hurdles. Beyond his professional legacy, Michael’s approachable manner and profound insights offer a glimpse into the ethos that underpins Australian Securities—a dedication to excellence, innovation, and mutual respect among all stakeholders.

Q&A with Michael

Q&A with Michael was fascinating. He has seen so much change and has been instrumental in some of that change. Here’s what he had to say.

Q. What is your role, and how long have you been at Australian Securities?

I am currently the General Counsel and an Executive Director, a journey that started on 5 February 1973. The finance and investment landscape has evolved dramatically over the last 51 years, and I’ve had the privilege of evolving alongside it, from my early days to becoming CEO in 1986 to pioneering our managed investment schemes.

Q. What do you like most about your role?

One of the most satisfying parts of my work is distilling complex financial situations into actionable, understandable solutions. There’s a unique satisfaction in devising innovative financial products that elevate our standing in the financial community and genuinely deliver results for our members.

It is not uncommon to witness the full cycle of a finance client becoming an investor or a peer choosing to invest with us, and this is profoundly rewarding.

Q. Name one of the most important lessons you’ve learnt throughout your career.

There is an interdependence between investors and borrowers; they need each other. Without the other, they don’t have a mortgage security for income or finance for their business or residence.

Q. Which Australian Securities value do you resonate with the most and why?

The value of professional respect for all stakeholders is a guiding principle that informs how we engage with everyone inside and outside our business. We need to balance the needs of our clients. Without investors, we cannot finance a loan, yet without a fair interest rate, you cannot expect clients to invest.

Q. How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t working?

I like to spend my time away from work in several ways. These include gardening, walking, spending time with friends, and building model ships and dollhouses.

Q.What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

That’s a tough question. If I had to pick a new career, it would follow my interests, so perhaps a social worker, a garden landscaper or a builder of model ships and dollhouses.

Q. Do you have a favourite person, book, blog or podcast that has influenced your life and career?

Simon Sinek’s insights on leadership and the principles of TQM have greatly influenced my professional philosophy, particularly the emphasis on quality and productivity. He also taught me to avoid proud, unconsciously incompetent people.

On a personal level, my grandfather, a multifaceted person, a Brigadier in the Australian army and post war dental surgeon who sat on his grandfather’s shoulders outside 80 Collins Street to watch the first motor car drive along Collins Street Melbourne, following a man in a white coat ringing a bell to warn bystanders to be careful. He taught me the value of authenticity and the impact one can make by “just being yourself”.

If there were one piece of advice you would have to share with existing and prospective clients, what would it be?

The KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Stupid—has always been a mantra I live by. The financial world is complex enough; understanding should not be. I urge clients to seek clarity and simplicity in all their dealings. If something doesn’t make sense, ask again. If it still doesn’t make sense, it’s time to GOQ—Get Out Quick! I’ve shared this advice with every client and member.

Leaving a legacy

Michael’s deep-rooted experience and wisdom showcase the legacy he has built at Australian Securities and the forward-thinking ethos that propels the firm toward success.

Want to find out more about us?

Call us on 1300 275 275 to talk to one of our Lending or Finance Managers. We prioritise direct communication and personalised support for our clients.

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